State discoms will have to mandatorily draw at least 2.75% of their total power consumption from solar plants in the current fiscal, according to the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) norms laid down by the power ministry.
States will have to increase the share of solar power to 4.75% in 2017-18 and 6.75% in 2018-19, the guidelines said.
While the Ministry of Power has issued guidelines, the final targets will be set by each individual state’s electricity regulatory commission (SERC).
The RPO has been divided into energy from solar sources and non-solar.
The ministry has set the quota of power to be drawn from non-solar renewable energy sources at 8.75% in 2016-17, 9.50% in 2017-18 and 10.25% in 2018-19.
This adds up to a total renewable energy share of 11.50% this year, 14.25% in 2017-18 and 17% in 2018-19.
India had earlier announced a goal of achieving 8% intake of solar power by March 2022.
The new guidelines amount to a significant increase in the targets set, in keeping with the government’s ambition of having 175,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, including 100,000 MW of solar energy capacity.
Track record of state discoms is not very encouraging though. In the last three years, solar RPOs set by different SERCs varied between 0.25% and 1%, and yet they were rarely fulfilled, with penal action rarely being taken against defaulting discoms.
Also, discoms, many of them badly cash-strapped, are hardly in a position to encourage renewable energy growth. Though renewable energy tariffs have been falling of late, thermal power remains more attractive for them. More so because solar and wind power, by their very nature, erratic or infirm with output varying considerably depending upon the sun’s intensity or the wind’s speed. Houston Texans JerseyShare This